Booze and Pills
Today would be Beau's eighteenth birthday, if he was still alive. I still couldn't accept that he was dead, still couldn't deal with the pain that the thought caused. It was why, as I stood in my bathroom, securing my gun, taser and radio to my belt, that I stepped forward and opened the bottle of Xanax that I kept on the counter, grabbing out three of the pills.
I popped the three small pills in my mouth when I got down to the kitchen, swallowing them down with a swig of my preferred whiskey. My kitchen didn't look good and I knew I should clean it, but I ignored it, as I had been for months.
I headed outside and got in my cruiser, driving to the police station in silence. On the way to the police station, I passed the small gas station with the long time clerk, Andrea – who sold marijuana out of the back. She assumed we didn't know, but of course we did. We just didn't bother to bust her because we wanted her supplier and not her.
But, as I drove past that gas station, a small part of my mind calculated just how easy it would be to veer left and ram directly into the cement base of the sign. As I had done every time since I'd gotten the full report of how my son had... died. Because I knew, I knew what the whispers said in town, I knew what my mind had figured out the instant I'd gotten the information.
And so, even though I refused to so much as think the words for what my son had done to himself. I still couldn't help but wonder what had been going through his head when he deliberately ran off that embankment.
Had he seen it and decided that that spot looked like the perfect place for a relatively painless and quick end? Had he, like I saw whenever I looked at the base of that sign, just known there'd be no return? I didn't know, and I didn't know how to accept what had happened. Not even after all this time.
I continued my drive to work, pulling into my designated spot.
Once I got inside the police station, my two deputies, Mary and Silvia, both threw pitying looks my way. I knew what they thought, I could hear their not quite quiet enough whispers about me. But I took my job seriously, and I wasn't drunk. The small amount of whiskey I'd took to wash the pills down with wasn't enough to even register on a breathalyzer... and if my clothes smelled of cigarettes and booze, well what I did when I was off the clock was my business. Not theirs.
There'd been awhile, during the early summer, when I'd truly been lost. I'd taken a leave of absence from work as I'd lost myself. The pastor and his family had helped me some during that time, but then the pastor's wife had died in a tragic wreck and they'd had to deal with their own grief.
My friends on the Res, Bonnie, Holly, and Saul, all had initially called every couple days, but as I got tired of giving the same answers and stopped answering the phone, they'd eventually quit trying.
It left me utterly alone. It was no more than what I deserved for being such a bad father.
After a time, I'd pulled myself together enough to start going back into work.
I let my deputies handle most of the calls, only going out when it was something serious enough that my personal attentions were required, or when I was required to put in my mandatory patrol time.
Today, I buried myself in the paperwork that was a daily thing for me. Most people didn't realize that there was more to being a cop than cuffing people and throwing them in jail cells. There was paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork, and there was even more for someone like me who was the chief of police, because not only did I have to do paperwork of my own work, but I also had to write up reports on what my deputies did, write up reports on what the dispatcher did, sign off on their reports, calculate the hours and report their time so checks could be handed out, and so much more. In truth, the paperwork alone was a full-time job, so it wasn't just an excuse to avoid calls or not patrol.
Only a few calls came in during my shift, and none of them were serious, in fact, most of them should have been calls to animal control and not us. A skunk stuck in a house or a raccoon supposedly doing the backstroke in a pool were not our problems... though I had to admit, part of me wouldn't have minded going to the house with a raccoon that apparently knew choreographed swimming.
When it was time to get off for the night, I drove to the Lodge to get my steak and potatoes for supper, ignoring the pitying eyes from the waitress when she brought me my food. I barely tasted what little of it I ate and I took the rest home for tomorrow.
After I got back home, I took three more of the Xanax as well as two of the Restoril, grabbing my bottle of whiskey and taking it with me as I made my way into the living room. I walked over to the television and turned it on because I didn't have a remote anymore... the remains of my last one was still on the floor.
Then I took my seat in my recliner, drinking from the bottle like my life depended on it. At first, the news just went through it's normal affair of weather and talking about the life and times of random events in Seattle and surrounding areas, but then it moved to a shooting somewhere in Canada. Nineteen were injured and two died, including the shooter.
It was little wonder why I hated big cities. I got up from my chair and turned off the TV before it got any more detailed. I headed up to bed, taking my bottle of whiskey with me. I set it on the nightstand as I stripped down to my boxers and laid down to sleep for the night.
That night, as I slept I had nightmares, tossing and turning heavily – as scene after scene showed my son ramming his car into the ditch... of him dying on impact... of him burning alive... of him telling me to just let him go.
I woke with start, his name came out of my mouth without thought, "Beau..."
I mentally cursed myself for ever having let him go that night. I'd been able to see he was visibly upset that night. I should have forced him to stay until he was calm.
As I woke up a little more, I sensed... something. I smelled a foreign scent, one that seemed so familiar, and yet I knew I'd never smelled it before. I also realized that I was fully covered, which should have been impossible given how much I was sure I'd tossed and turned the night before.
I'd never been one to believe in ghosts... and yet... "Beau, is that you?"
There was no reply.
I grabbed the bottle of whiskey off my nightstand, taking a giant swig.